State Champions SMHS FFA Teams Add Wins to Their Growing List. Again.

The Santa Maria FFA has three State Champion Judging Teams in Career Development Events (CDE) this school year.


The latest additions were the Vegetable Crop Judging Team and the Poultry Judging Team. They were part of numerous honors earned by nearly 50 Santa Maria FFA members who attended the California FFA State Finals at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on May 5th. The Santa Maria FFA Vegetable Crop Judging Team, which is coached by Shannon Powell, took home the State Champion 1st place title with 2nd High Individual Erick Silva (senior), and 4th High Individual Carolina Espinoza (junior). Other team members included Emily Guzman (junior) and Kayce Van Horn (sophomore). 

“I have been on the Vegetable Judging Team for two years now and learned so much about vegetable judging but also learned so many life skills. Being on this team with all the fabulous people has been amazing and such an honor. Through the ups and downs, we supported each other and we’re about to make lifelong memories.” – Kayce Van Horn.

“Given the opportunity to work alongside with this amazing team and support from our advisor is something I will forever cherish because in the end it was all worth it!” – Carolina Espinoza.

The Poultry Judging Team, which is coached by Amanda Rodriguez, also took home the State Champion 1st place title with 4th High Individual Manuel Gomez (senior). Other team members included Dianna Jimenez (senior), Giselle Lazaro (senior), and Jhoana Hernandez (junior). This team will advance to the National Contest and represent California FFA in late October in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Four years of hard work and dedication finally paid off, and we are state champions!” – Giselle Lazaro.

The Milk Quality & Dairy Products Team, which is coached by Mark Powell, had the State Champion 1st High Individual Evelyn Noriega (sophomore) and the team placed 3rd overall with other team members including Karla Vargas (sophomore), Jimena Diaz (sophomore), and Christina Ramirez(sophomore). Last month at Fresno State, the Fruit Tree Judging Team, which is coached by Michael Guerra, took home the State Champion 1st place title with 1st High Individual Jessica Avendano (junior), and 3rd High Individual Evelyn Navarette (junior). Other team members included Diana Nicolas (sophomore) and Melissa Lua (junior).

According to the National FFA, Career Development Events challenge students “to develop critical thinking skills and effective decision-making skills, foster teamwork and promote communication while recognizing the value of ethical competition and individual achievement.” CDE events occur at the local, state, and national levels.

Additional results from the Cal Poly State Finals Competition are listed below:
• Soil and Land Evaluation Judging Team, coached by Marc DeBernardi, 3rd place in the State.
• Nursery Landscape Team, coached by Michael Guerra, 3rd place in the State.
• Several other Santa Maria FFA teams competed in the areas of AET Record Book, B.I.G., Floriculture, Forestry, Light Horse Judging, and Veterinary Science.